January 1st, 2021
Happy New Year!
My first photo of this ‘brave new year’ is a sad (arty & posed) comment on my current feelings….
I felt wonderfully lucky and grateful that our daughter & son-in-law (and their dog!) were able to come across for Christmas Day itself, but 2020 Christmas was not the hoped-for family celebration of course.
As my brother-in-law put it on the phone from France yesterday, we’re all a bit depressed at the moment…
Negativity won’t help anything to change, I realise, and I’ll get on with the positive direction I promised for 2021 soon, but I believe honesty is important and sometimes ‘the best policy’ too…
January 1st is the start, for some (including one of my sons and his partner, I think) of Veganuary, a month where people make a New Year’s resolution to ‘go vegan’ or at least to try that lifestyle/diet until February. I didn’t realise Einstein became a vegetarian (see photo, a tea-towel Christmas present from my sister) and, more importantly, that he warned us in 1954 about the connection between what we eat and the ‘survival of life on Earth’. Why haven’t we learnt?
Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Paul McCartney, Ricky Gervais, Lily Cole, Johnny Marr and John Bishop, along with many other musicians, actors and sports stars, have all signed an open letter calling for more people to join in with the Veganuary pledge….
The letter says: “We cannot tackle climate change while we farm and eat animals on an industrial scale”.
Chris Packham (one of my heroes!) told the Observer newspaper: “Nature has taught us a very harsh and cold lesson. If we don’t start understanding that we are all connected implicitly to nature, and that what we eat impacts on nature, we’re in deep trouble.
“Deforestation is serious for lots of reasons. It pushes wild species to extinction. It displaces indigenous peoples. It drives climate change. And it brings us in ever closer contact with wild animals and any viruses they may harbour, raising the risk of another pandemic.”
I know I’ve said all this before, here….
This bit is why I need to say it again, if only to ‘get it out of my system’ – lockdown has fuelled a boom in meat consumption. Yes, so depressing…. Is meat comfort food?
Bill Bailey, a great animal lover, winning Strictly this year (in the UK) raised my hopes for making all these connections mainstream…. but he’s not a vegetarian, and I have a comment recurring in my head: amazing red-haired Australian dancer Dianne (I love Strictly!) summed up Christmas, for her, as “turkey & crackers, and Strictly”…. We still have a long way to go….
Chris Packham is realistic about how much we can achieve – I know close family who are sceptical about veganism… And I must admit I love cheese (strides are being made with vegan cheese, but sadly not fast enough..), and baking with eggs…
Mr Packham says the solution is not for the whole population to turn vegan.
“The people I call ultra-vegans just want to stop all meat consumption overnight. But that would be no good for meat farmers. It would be no good for our landscapes, where low-intensity, good-quality animal husbandry and livestock farming are actually good for biodiversity.”
But immediate awareness does need to increase – there is evidence that soya produced in felled Brazilian rainforest has been used to feed chickens sold in UK supermarkets and fast-food outlets: “If you put that chicken in your mouth, you’re connecting yourself very directly with deforestation in South America.”
And please try to avoid products containing palm oil (also so often from deforestation) – it’s in biscuits, shampoo, toothpaste (and even the Ferrero Rocher we were given for Christmas, by lovely well-meaning neighbours).
Finally, for today, I hope some of you might feel inclined to make the New Year’s Resolution I’ve made – switching to the ethical tree-planting search engine Ecosia.
Here’s a link to its latest video – https://youtu.be/OpRJVCDHFTg
I feel a bit ‘sheepish’ that I didn’t know about this ‘eco option’ before – a friend of mine, wonderful XR and Green Party activist told me she assumed I knew… and my sister has been ‘on it’ for years, without sharing that with me…
Let’s all share more! I still feel, for some ridiculous reason, like I mustn’t ‘go on’ about climate activism.
I’m always keen to know more, about positive changes particularly admittedly!
Knowledge is power, surely? I think I’ve said that before too…..!
‘See’ you soon (ish…)!